Auli Vähäkangas

Member of AfriStadi's steering committee

Auli Vähäkangas is Professor in Practical Theology and the Vice Dean of international affairs at the Faculty of Theology. Her dissertation is: Christian Couples Coping with Childlessness; Narratives from Machame, Kilimanjaro. American Society of Missiology, Monograph series 4. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. 2009.

Vähäkangas’ research has focused on those in vulnerable situations: childless people, Palliative care patients, NEET youth and PLWHA in various African communities. She served in the Faculty of Tumaini University in Arusha, Tanzania 1998-2005. During those years she was a member of Circle of Concerned Women Theologians and Tanzania Theological Colloquium both of which are ecumenical research networks.

Vähäkangas has been part of Nordic research cooperation on Africa in two Nos-HS funded projects:

  • Religion and Development – Nordic Perspectives on Involvement in Africa, 2011-2012

  • Interpreting African Christianity: Anthropology and Theology in Dialogue, 2009-2010 (Nos-HS funding).

She co-led the South-African-Nordic research project Youth at the Margins (YOMA) (2013-2017). The main publication of the project is: Stuck in the margins? Young people and faith-based organisations in South African and Nordic localities, Research in Contemporary Religion (RCR) vol. 31, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

During the past ten years Vähäkangas has done various research visits to University of Johannesburg, University of Stellenbosch, University of the Western Cape in South Africa.

Research interests

  • death and dying
  • rituals
  • pastoral theology